We danced this week in the synagogues and in the streets. In Oregon and in Jerusalem we pulled aside pretty veils and dug into our boxes and took out our scrolls cloaked in majesty. Between the Jordan and the Pacific we danced our dance ’round the bimah, waging peace, raging joy.
We danced in Oregon, with its evergreen trees and ever-kind people. Just a few days ago, someone stepped over a bitter edge. He sought to make himself known to an indifferent universe. He acted. And now we sit, once again in shock, once again searching for reasons. But I think the truth is simpler. He had no reason. He believed in the mounting voices that we all sometimes hear, the ones that say that life is a spray thrown up by the crash of static waves on a chaotic shore, that we are small in a vast universe and that our actions mean nothing and so, if you’re angry, go shooting…
Thus, we dance. We dance, hoping to drum into the floor and shake into the air just a few words of the holy book. Simcha heals Umpqua. In the bullet-sliced atmosphere now rings melody, which is structure, which is purpose. We will suture these wounds. We will sew G-d and Oregon and ourselves back into one, by the power of the souls that burn in our chests and the mantled words of the holy tongue that dance their furious circles.
We also danced in our precious, proud, Israel, where the parents slain before their children were only the beginning. This week, we clutched the royal scrolls we’ve carried through fire and death. They are brothers to the ruined parchments at Yad Vashem, sisters to the letters of G-d’s name lost to the flames or covered in filth in our long exile. We danced with wrath; we exalted in sorrow. We danced on ground soaked in Jewish blood and Jewish tears.
We danced to disturb our cousins’ complacency. They pull triggers and come with knives, and if the world isn’t silent, the world refuses to face the obvious. The attacks are the products of a society oversaturated with meaning, where the human spirit is subjugated to cruel law and cold religion, where blood is cheap but prayer is valuable. They are so entangled in their way of thought they cannot hear the cries of children, neither ours nor theirs. They are so full of purpose that their actions are senseless.
And so, we dance, and we cry, and as we wind around in coils, we unravel the hold of evil ideas over our cousins’ hearts. We drill the Torah into the earth, a declaration and a hope.
We dance the world over. We dance because we are still here, because the mission continues, and just as we preserve it, it preserves us. We dance because a Jewish soul in a Jewish body for one more moment is a victory for G-d. We dance because the world needs us to. We dance because our job is not yet over, and we will dance when it is finished. We press on with full hearts and the truth in our hands, and though this sad, imperfect world may not know it yet, we won before we entered this exile, before a Hebrew sandal imprinted itself on the bed of the Sea of Reeds, before Abraham smashed his father’s idols, before Adam named the lion.
Our dance is with Him and Him alone, and when we meet Him next, we will present a gift, a green and blue marble, balanced and at peace, and we will study the war no more.
Originally posted on Hevria.